Last week, Robert Sheaffer posted on his blog concerning the need to provide proper context to wikipedia articles. He highlighted the efforts of Susan Gerbic related to the late skeptic Phillip Klass' wiki article, "Guerilla Skepticism-Now We Have Klass' Wikipedia Back."
I had provided two comments on Sheaffer's blog referencing the efforts of James Carlson and his on-going efforts to provide alternative thoughts/points of view to the Wikipedia articles concerning the two Malmstrom AFB alleged UFO incidents back in 1967. In one of my comments, I had mentioned the wiki editing process as that of a "sausage making factory."
To see how this editing process occurs, one only has to click on the "Talk" portion of any given wiki article. The Malmstrom UFO section shows how the internal debates rage and underscores how any given Wikipedia entry, regardless of subject, changes over time. It further proves a valid point that Wikipedia articles should be held in suspect dependent of the references cited. I'm aware that wiki attempts to provide a neutral point of view, but that concept appears to be a difficult to implement.
Earlier to today, I had nine hits on my blog from Wikipedia's "Talk" section concerning "UFO Hoaxes" which Carlson has, for now, been able to list Hastings and Salas as either hoaxers or pranksters. I'm assuming that some of the editors were looking at references for citation that James had provided to back up his assertions.
A few weeks ago both Echo and Oscar Flights were listed in the wiki article as hoaxes or complete fabrications...that appears to have disappeared from the article. At least that's how I remembered the initial article. Perhaps Carlson will be able to shed some light on my memory of the editing events.
What's the best way to deal with the issues with Wikipedia? The best approach, one that I had proposed in a past blog post when I became aware of the Wikipedia articles on the Malmstrom UFO incidents, is to have two sections to any given UFO wiki entry. That is one can present evidence (with citations) supporting the UFO hypothesis and a separate section could present a dissenting view point (with citations) with an alternative hypothesis. This way both sides can be heard/read in a fair and consistent way. Let the reader decide which side presents the credible point of view.
I do not believe that there should be any form of censorship regardless of who is presenting their respective points of view. Hastings and Salas, and others, should be freely able to have their viewpoints aired out in Wikipedia's format as well as that of James Carlson...or me, for that matter. Its up to the reader to decide who makes the better case.